Rantz: Mask mandate ignored at Seahawks game, highlights progressive hypocrisy
Throngs of 12s took to Lumen Field for the home opener as the Seattle Seahawks lost to the Tennessee Titans. But where were all the life-saving masks protecting fans from a supposedly inevitable COVID super spreader event?
Despite an outdoor mask mandate by Public Health – Seattle & King County and Washington state, few fans wore masks. Both county and state policies force masks on those attending outdoor events with more than 500 people present, regardless of vaccination status. Fans were supposed to wear masks “at all times” except when actively eating or drinking. That definitely didn’t happen.
Will Lumen Field face punishment? Will this be labeled a super spreader event? The likely answer to both questions is no.
The outdoor mask mandate joke
It seems unlikely that Lumen Field will suffer any significant punishment for hosting thousands without masks. Perhaps that’s their privilege. Unfortunately, small businesses that flout county and state rules aren’t so lucky.
Flowers Restaurant in the University District did not follow COVID mandates. Among the rules the business rejected was the indoor mask mandate. Health inspectors went so far as to publicize photos of patrons forgoing masks. Consequently, its license was suspended.
Even before the rise of the delta variant, South Lake Union’s Saturday Market was forced to have a mask mandate. There were no large crowds, and social distancing was in full force. Still, organizers said they had to make sure visitors wore masks so the county or city wouldn’t shut down the market. At the time, Seattle had exceeded a 70% vaccination rate.
When you’re a small business or event organizer, the rules apply. Host the Seahawks with the backing of the NFL? Perhaps you worry less.
Do I want Lumen Field to suffer consequences from the county or state? Nope.
I highlight this to show the disparities in enforcement. An outdoor mask mandate is unnecessary, especially since every fan showed proof of vaccination or a negative test. Requiring a mask in that scenario is not based on science nor data.
Will politicians or the media call out Lumen Field?
When it comes to Watershed or the Puyallup Fair, politicians and local media outlets were very concerned about the threat of a super spreader event.
Governor Jay Inslee used Watershed, a country music festival at the Gorge, to highlight why we need an outdoor mask mandate at well-attended events. With the help of media outlets like the Seattle Times, you might think it was a super spreader event. But county officials were only able to tie roughly 0.82% of the attendees to cases of COVID.
When it came to the State Fair in Puyallup, the local county health director imposed an outdoor mask mandate specific to that event. The Tacoma News Tribune closely tracked the COVID cases after speculation it would become a super spreader event. It didn’t.
There has been no fearmongering about the Seahawks game like there was for Watershed and the Puyallup Fair. Those two events are particularly popular with conservatives. Politicians and the media love to target conservatives as a “bioreactor facility” for COVID.
If anything, there’s been a celebration about the Seahawks game because Lumen Field imposed a set of rules. Now that fans widely ignored the mask mandate, will it inspire criticism? Will we hear concerns over the threat of being a super spreader? Probably not.
Should there be? Nope.
These are fans and staff in a low-risk situation — vaccinated or COVID-free people surround them. But I point it out to note the disparate treatment.
Rules don’t really make sense
The outdoor mask mandate doesn’t really make sense, especially if you’re vaccinated.
It’s almost impossible to catch or spread COVID outdoors, even if unvaccinated. King County couldn’t point to one case of outdoor transmission just a few months ago. The state doesn’t even track outdoor transmission. And while some doctors are concerned about the delta variant, there’s been no meaningful study to back up the concerns.
But in a county with over 85% of eligible residents vaccinated with at least one shot and 79% fully vaccinated, we don’t really need another study if the vaccine works.
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